Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009, dir. David Yates)

Battle lines are drawn between Voldemort’s followers and others; Harry’s studies are supported by a mysterious textbook. Decent series entry, concerned with putting pieces in place for the final conflict. Not really a stand-alone movie, but series fans won’t mind that at all.

Aladdin (2019, dir. Guy Ritchie)

A street thief falls for a princess; a magic lamp offers the opportunity to win her hand. Okay-as-far-as-it-goes live-action/CG remake of the 1992 Disney animation. A couple of new songs, Will Smith brings some pizazz as the genie, and a nice magic carpet gag; otherwise this is a product rather than a movie, and feels it at times too.

The Curse of La Llorona [AKA The Curse of the Weeping Woman] (2019, dir. Michael Chaves)

LA, 1973. A cursed social services worker has her family stalked by a vengeful child-killing spirit. Competent jump-scare horror with links to the Conjuring universe. Some decent period details, solid character actors galore, and a few well-engineered shocks. All-but-bloodless fare, but entertaining enough.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007, dir. David Yates)

Voldemort’s rise develops; a fightback begins. Middling fifth instalment treading water between the establishment of the nemesis as a real threat, and its crystallisation; meanwhile, Hogwarts is put into special measures. Okay for fans, and well-enough done, but no classic.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005, dir. Mike Newell)

Harry is mysteriously selected to take part in a wizarding tournament at Hogwarts. Fourth and perhaps the best of the sequence, balancing a stand-alone story with the developing Voldemort narrative. Little for series entrants, but a confident and well-made movie for fans of the books and the films to date.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, dir. Alfonso Cuaron)

Potter is threatened by a notorious escaped prisoner and ally of the Dark Lord. The third in the sequence is a touch darker, expanding the movie universe away from the quest-based adventures of parts 1 and 2. A step up all around, with confident direction, better effects, and actors maturing into their roles.

Godzilla (2014, dir. Gareth Edwards)

Earth is threatened by MUTOs (massive unidentified terrestrial organisms), awoken by human nuclear activity. Superior monster mayhem anchored by a fabulous visual sensibility, and by a genuine feeling of otherness between the creatures and us. Story-light, and a touch serious, but properly spectacular, nevertheless. Sequels ensued.